Fundraising Trends for 2019

Fundraising Trends for 2019

Last week, Analytical Ones completed its survey of fundraising professionals to gain insights on trends for 2019. Overall, the outlook among fundraising professionals is mixed. As many expect a good year as those who are forecasting it will not be a good year. As one respondent stated, a good year may come down to planning: “Modest growth will come to organizations with strategic fundraising programs.”   When asked about the most important trend in fundraising for 2019, it was unsurprising that the stock market’s recent downturn was top of mind. Half of the respondents identified this as the most important trend for the coming year. The two other second-tier trends mentioned in the survey were: Fundraising Channels, and the Tax Law changes. Here are two of the direct quotes from the fundraising professionals who took the survey: “A global recession could cause a significant impact on giving.” “Whether people will begin to bundle donations and not give every year, but change to another giving pattern.”   External forces lead the responses when participants were asked about their biggest concern for the coming year. In short, fundraising professionals have many concerns right now. We all know in times of uncertainty, donors tend to give less. Let’s hope our panel is wrong, but the general consensus is that it may be a bumpy...
Granny’s $5 birthday surprise won’t cut it any longer.

Granny’s $5 birthday surprise won’t cut it any longer.

I’m on the 3rd floor of a Michigan Avenue focus group facility with a group of healthcare donors. I’ve just finished describing the directions of one my go-to exercises. They’re being asked to allocate $100 how they please across the organization. A male baby-boomer, on the younger side of the boom, says something unexpected: “I can’t allocate $100… because I would be embarrassed to give this organization just $100.” What just happened? $100 is a decent gift for a direct mail donor right? $100 used to really mean something in this business! Not anymore. Not like it used to anyway. This particular focus group was 3 years ago. I’ve been following this trend through my other research since. In many settings we’ve validated that younger donors have higher first gift amounts in acquisition. But why? It’s the same reason granny sends $5 bills in birthday cards. Our perception of the value of a dollar is very different by generation. At least, that was my hypothesis. So, I tested this assumption on a survey of 300 donors. I asked, “What is the minimum gift you could make to an organization and actually make a difference?” This is an adaptation of the Van Westendorp’s Price Sensitivity Meter question: “At what price would you consider the product to be priced so low that you would feel the quality couldn’t be very good?” The results supported my hypothesis in a way a researchers only dreams about: Mean Response: Donors under 55: $171 Donors 55-70: $68 Donors 70+ $35 What does this mean? Well, in today’s world it means your low ask-strings in direct...
Election Results Are Not Expected to Affect Holiday Giving

Election Results Are Not Expected to Affect Holiday Giving

Analytical Ones conducted a survey of 300 active donors in the USA on Nov. 10 & 11, immediately following last week’s Presidential election results. (In this study, an active donor is defined as a person who is 35 years old or older and has made a financial contribution to a nonprofit organization, beyond a church or other house of worship in the past 12 months.) The objective of the study was to assess whether donors expected to give more, less or the same based on the election results. The findings are: Overwhelmingly, donors (84%) said they would not change their fall giving patterns. These percentages were the same whether the active donor voted for Trump or for Clinton. Of the minority that said they would change their giving patterns, twice as many said they would increase their giving as decrease their giving. To learn more about donor’s intentions and find out which charitable causes are most likely to experience a decrease in giving, download our free Post Election Donor Survey results. To do so, please provide your name and email address below.   [contact-form-7 404 "Not...
Who Are Your Donors? Personas Can Tell You!

Who Are Your Donors? Personas Can Tell You!

I attended a conference in the Spring and went to several sessions on online marketing for nonprofits. There was a lot of discussion in the break-out sessions on Personas, and even a whole session dedicated to that topic. So, what is a Persona? Wikipedia defines a Persona as a “fictional character created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.” It adds that “Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of brand buyers and users in order to help to guide decisions about a service or product such as features, interactions, and visual design of a website.” I’ve seen that Personas can be extremely useful when creating a marketing campaign or designing a website. They can help to make sure that the entire team can visualize the audience for the marketing effort. Hubspot even has this useful template for creating personas. But, the key to creating useful personas is good research. The Hubspot template says “Donor personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. … You’ll collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a picture of who your ideal donor is, what inspires them, and how they can or cannot relate to your mission.” Has your organization used Personas? Were they helpful or not? As an article on Personas in The Guardian states, “Everyone thinks they know who their audience is but without data, it’s just a guessing...
What Donors Are Saying about Your Nonprofit: A Fundraiser’s Challenge

What Donors Are Saying about Your Nonprofit: A Fundraiser’s Challenge

“Melodramatic.” “Generic.” “Uncompelling.” That’s what potential donors said about heartfelt written appeals by donors to our national nonprofit client. These are words no fundraiser wants to hear. But, they were the motivation our client needed to initiate major changes in its messaging. The results of their changes were outstanding! They experienced a 78% increase in online revenue year-over-year. Here’s how we did it: The Challenge To ensure future growth, national nonprofit organization needed to test its brand strength, and develop effective messages and strategies to attract donors and engage supporters. The nonprofit organization turned to research. They contracted with us to conduct the research and analysis needed to acquire the data and take the next strategic growth steps. While the nonprofit organization has attracted new donors, it has not seen these donors translate into major investors (major donors). The organization believed that their messaging, which was focused on patient care, was not resonating with donors. Was the communications to donors insufficiently conveying the impact of their donations? Or, did donors really prefer to fund research over care? The Methodology To gain insights and answers to these questions, a multi-disciplinary research approach developed  by Analytical Ones specifically for nonprofit organizations was employed. The approach, called Mission Alignment Platform (MAP), has evolved over a decade to answer the following question: How can a nonprofit organization best communicate their mission to leverage their fundraising? MAP involves three phases: Perceive – the comprehensive discovery phase to fully understand NPF’s current situation. Perfect – consolidating all the information from the discovery phase into a communication platform that aligns the organization to a single message. Promote...
Lift and Keep

Lift and Keep

In my last blog, I talked about the Public Religion Research Institute study that detailed the changes in the demographic landscape of America. But before the full measure of those changes take place, we still have a few years to maximize the fundraising techniques that we know works best. We are urging our clients to maximize their investments into these tools while they are still working. The leading sign that these demographic changes are happening is the decline in effectiveness of direct mail acquisition. At some point, the cost to acquire a new donor will be ROI prohibitive. Our company’s focus is to help you raise more funds to fuel your mission. There are only three ways to do that: Win new donors to your cause. Lift current donors to give more, and Keep more of your donors active. As this is already happening, we are starting to recommend that organizations shift their “Win” budgets towards “Lift and Keep” budgets. Two of the things you will want to start doing, and many of our clients are doings this now, is to invest in predictive models. First, models that identify those donors who should be targeted for mid-major cultivation efforts. Second, models that priortize who should be targeted for reactivation. These models pay for themselves quickly, and help you to maximize your Lift and Keep revenue. Part of any good strategic plan is to have your contingency plans in place. We believe that one of these contingency plans is the gradual shift from “win” budgets to “lift and keep” budgets. At least until the next big thing in new donor...